President Trump, US Congress, Halt Arms Sales to Nigeria
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According to a Los Angeles Times report dated April 10, 2017 with the heading, “Trump to sell planes to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram despite concerns over human rights abuses”, I wish to draw the attention of Mr. President and the Congress to some salient issues concerning this sale that negate the principles of freedom, justice and equity for which the United States is seen as the beacon around the world.
I understand Mr. President and the Congress are aware of reports of multiple human rights abuses, war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and mass executions by the Nigerian government as reported by Amnesty International and a host of other human rights organizations but however premised this arms sale on a 2016 report by The State Department stating that the Nigerian government has taken "few steps to investigate or prosecute officials who committed violations”. While this appears to be true to an extent, impunity remains widespread at all levels of government as reported in the Los Angeles Times - April 10, 2017.
More troubling is the fact that the Nigerian President appears to be running an ethnic/ Islamic agenda in the manner with which he is executing governance of the country. You would recall the statement credited to President Buhari on July 22nd at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in response to a question on how he would run an inclusive government by Dr. Pauline Baker where he stated that, “constituents, for example, [that] gave me 97% [of the vote] cannot in all honesty be treated on some issues with constituencies that gave me 5%.” This confession properly describes the way the Nigerian President has so far managed the affairs of the country. Because of this, dissent, separatist voices, calls for self-determination and referendum has never been so pronounced in the history of Nigeria as it is now being experienced with the Buhari administration.
The aim of the Trump administration to aid governments fighting Islamic terrorism is being defeated in Nigeria as President Buhari has deployed the military with heavy weaponry to torture and kill innocent unarmed civilians in the South-Eastern part of the country in an operation tagged "Python Dance". This operation has already recorded several fatalities. It will also interest you to know that Islamic Fulani herdsmen armed with AK47s continuously pillage communities in the Southern part of Nigeria and while we hear of a few arrests, prosecutions in courts are very rare. These activities are widely reported in the Nigerian press and can be validated or confirmed.
The United States should not be seen to be giving tacit support to a government that is rife with nepotism and genocidal tendencies. I hereby urge President Trump and The Congress not only to rescind and halt the sale of arms to Nigeria for now but also to sanction the Nigerian government for human rights abuses, torture and murder of innocent civilians.
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